Cost of Masonry Repair
All brickwork eventually needs repair. Water finds its way into even the smallest cracks in even the most carefully-applied mortar. In wet and cold climates, this water will expand and contract, causing mortar to deteriorate more quickly. You can usually save significant amounts of money if you decide to repair the brick yourself, but be careful not to ignore other problems.
As is usually the case with masonry, it's best to contact local masons who can handle the most difficult of jobs.
National Repair Brick Work Costs
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Table of Contents
- Brick Repair Costs
- Brick Repair Cost Factors
- Types Of Brick Repair
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- DIY Brick Repair Tips
- Find A Pro
Brick Repair Costs
The costs to repair brickwork can vary. As you might expect, it’ll cost a lot more to replace half the brick used on your fireplace versus one or two bricks on your patio or sidewalk. In general, more extensive damage means higher costs. Masons or bricklayers may also charge more if a sidewalk, patio or chimney is difficult to access. If a contractor or mason tells you that the damage to the brick is a symptom of deeper water damage or problems with the foundation, you can expect much higher brick repair costs.
Overall, the average brick repair cost is approximately $1,100. However, we have seen some brick projects cost as little as $200 or as high as $3,500 to repair.
Brick Repair Cost Factors
Not all masonry repairs were created equal and that is why the price varies. Besides the extent of the damage, there are other factors that can drive your brick repair cost up or down:
There are four primary areas homeowners install brick:
- Foundations & Siding
Sidewalk brick repairs are cheaper than any other location. When it comes to the sidewalk, brick can get ruined from large objects falling, sunken bricks or warping. In any case, repairing one or two bricks may cost as little as $200. If your sidewalk is warping due to root growth, a reliable mason may charge as much as $1,000 to re-route your sidewalk and add new brick.
Patios repairs cost a little bit more than sidewalk repairs because more often than not, you’re dealing with mortar or brick stairs. Repairing mortar can be time consuming. Also, you must find a mortar with a similar color to preserve the current design. Finally, many homeowners have to repair or replace brick steps. This masonry project may cost more because you have to make sure the stairs are level. All in all, it requires more precision and that is why some masons charge as much as $1,000 to repair brick patios.
Chimney repair is the most popular of the bunch and a great way to avoid future brick repairs is to replace your chimney cap. A good cap will minimize exposure to water of the brickwork under it, thereby increasing your long-term savings. It will cost you $300 to $500 to purchase the cap and rent a hoist and safety harness to get the cap on top of the chimney. A mason or bricklayer will charge $1,000 to $1,500 to do the job.
Repairing the brickwork on a chimney is not complex, but is quite tedious and time consuming. A thorough job starts with a detailed visual inspection of every square inch of the brick to determine which bricks and mortar need replacement. Depending on the age of your house and where you live, you may have difficulty finding bricks that exactly match the color and texture of the bricks you need to replace. You will need to grind out the crumbled and cracked mortar and replace it. It may cost you $200 to $500 for materials and tools to repair your fireplace and chimney. A mason or contractor will charge you $1,000 to $1,500 for a chimney repair project.
Finally, foundations and siding are perhaps the most expensive and scariest of repair projects. When it comes to your foundation, you can’t take anything for granted. Cracks may start at as little as $500, but if major brick damage is present, prices can skyrocket to $10,000. In general, when it comes to brick foundation repairs, the more stories, the higher your brick cost will be.
Extent of Damage
The more serious the damage, the more expensive your masonry repair will be. Oftentimes, homeowners put off minor repairs because they don’t want to deal with it at the moment or have other expenses that take priority. While this can be OK for certain projects (like a bad faucet), it’s not for others.
If mortar is deteriorating from your brick patio, more bricks could separate once it rains. If brick is pulling away from your siding, areas surrounding that brick could worsen. Overall, while you think it’s smart to wait on your brickwork, oftentimes, it’s the exact opposite.
Everyone values his or her time differently. For example, a mason with one year of experience may charge less than a pro who has been fixing brickwork for 20 years. As you grow in your career, you demand more. The same goes for mason contractors.
As such, we always recommend you get at least four quotes for your mason repair project. Once you interview each contractor, make sure you present a bid for the exact same work. Once you have all the costs, think about whom you’d like to work with. Finally, be hesitant of the lowest bid. Oftentimes, a lower price means a lower quality of work.
Types Of Brick Repair
No matter what area you’re repairing, brickwork generally falls into three categories:
- Brick Replacement
Exterior brick can get dirty. Just imagine how much dirt, rain, snow and other grime gets a hold of it. Over time, this can discolor your beautiful brick and ruin the home exterior. As such, you should clean your brick every one to two years. You can do so with by sandblasting or with a simple bleach solution. However, we highly recommend you talk to a professional mason before doing either. Certain cleaning solutions can discolor the brick.
More often than not, your brick repair will revolve around tuckpointing or mortar repair. This is the process of removing the old mortar and replacing it with new mortar, making sure to match the color and composition. Sadly, not all mortars were made to hold all bricks together. But besides finding the right mortar, removing the old is time consuming and requires precision. If you don’t take the time to do it right, your mortar repair project could cause more harm than good. While you can try it as a DIY project, most homeowners hire the pros.
As the name suggests, brick replacement is the process of either replacing one or two bricks or actually rebuilding an entire chimney (or patio). Luckily, there are two common ways to save money on your brick replacement project.
The first, of course, is to DIY. If you have one or two bricks to repair on your sidewalk, steps or patio, give it a try on your own. If you follow simple brick installation instructions, you shouldn’t cause any damage to the surrounding brick.
The other way to save is by reusing your old brick. With many brick repair projects, the mortar is the culprit and the surrounding brick is as good as ever. Try to preserve these bricks, as it could save you a substantial amount on your masonry repair project.
If you can’t preserve your bricks, just know that it’s not always easy to find brick that perfectly matches your existing brick. If this is an exterior project, weather can alter the color of your brick. If interior, natural time can change the pigmentation of your brick. Either way, finding a perfect match is not easy.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Like many home remodeling projects, most homeowners try to fix minor brick repairs on their own. After all, if you only need to fix or replace one or two bricks, you may spend more on labor than actual materials. Luckily, there are many DIY videos online (like the one below) to help.
Nonetheless, removing mortar, or entire brick sections from your chimney, siding or foundation requires precision and a lot of time. To ensure you don’t ruin any surrounding brick, let us help you connect with up to four masons near you.
DIY Brick Repair Tips
Besides online video, everyone could use a few pointers before their first brick repair project. Luckily, there are very generous masons out there who have shared their own tips for all brick repair projects.
- Invest in a hammer, chisel and brick trowel for any brickwork
- Buy more mortar than you think you need
- When removing mortar or brick, be very careful not to damage surrounding brick
- Once the old mortar is removed, clean the surrounding area with a wire brush
- The mortar is ready when it’s stiff without crumbling
- Do not use dry mortar
- Fill in horizontal joints before vertical joints
- Clean off the face of your bricks with a sponge
- Spray the repaired area with water for three days
Find A Pro
Brick mortar repair does not come up that often, but when it does, it’s essential to fix as soon as you can. As we said earlier, delaying any masonry repairs will only make it worse down the line.
Luckily, whenever you need brickwork done, ImproveNet can connect you with up to four masons in your area. It’s always free to connect.
Last updated on Jan 31, 2017
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